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Sunday, February 28, 2016 @ 2 p.m.
Bristol Statehouse, 240 High Street
(Second Floor - Handicap Accessible)

Identifying and Dating Family Photographs

Speaker:  Maureen Taylor, Photo Detective

Do you have family photographs from 100 or 150 years ago which are a total mystery?  Nobody wrote a name or a date on the back and you are clueless? But you know the people in the photograph must be in the extended family because they are in the family albums or maybe they are just stuffed in shoeboxes?  No mystery is too small for Maureen Taylor. She has proven methods for putting names to the faces in those pictures. Methods that can tell you more about when they were taken, who took them and why.  

As a former curator at a historical society, Maureen Taylor knows how to make sense of photographs and family history.  Her skills live at the junction of history genealogy and photography.  She will offer you clues to identify the mystery people in your photos, offer solutions for preserving and organizing them, and yes, even guide you in the various ways to gather and share picture stories with your relatives.

The Process

Maureen Taylor starts by studying clues within a picture — a hairstyle, a sign in the background, or the shape of a shirtsleeve — in order to identify a person, place or era. What follows from her genealogical expertise is uncovering the story behind the images of the past. That could mean shedding light on how those pictures fit into your family tale. Or discovering the history of the area in which those people lived — even if that’s locally in Rhode Island or around the world in Australia.

Maureen Taylor is a frequent keynote speaker on photo identification, photograph preservation, and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., London and Canada.  She’s the author of several books and hundreds of articles and her television appearances include The View and The Today Show (where she researched and presented a complete family tree for host Meredith Vieira).  She’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, Germany’s top newspaper Der SpiegelAmerican Spirit, and The New York Times. Maureen was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for, an internationally known family history website and also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns for such media as

Currently a contributing editor of Family Tree Magazine, Maureen also writes personal memoirs and narrative family histories for the Newbury St. Press of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  

To read more about Maureen Taylor, visit her website at

A reception will follow.  Free and open to the public.

Next Meeting:  Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 9 a.m.
Society Headquarters, 48 Court Street, Bristol

Open To All - Just Walk In and Join the Group

The Club meets regularly on the 1st Saturday of the month except for July and August.  If the Saturday falls on a holiday weekend, the group will meet the following Saturday.

The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, 2016, at 9 a.m. at 48 Court Street.  In addition to the "brick wall" roundtable, members and guests are encouraged to bring any research books to this next meeting - the ones that cannot be found online.

Individual Review of Research Problems

We have a very lively group and we devote a portion of each meeting to our "brick wall roundtable" to help members with their individual research problems.  The idea is for members to present their latest "brick wall" so others can help decide what to do next.  The purpose of this short session is NOT to review an entire family history nor is it to actually solve the entire brick wall BUT is instead to give ideas on HOW to solve it.

1:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays - Fridays

Our Museum and library are open year around on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1:30 to 5 p.m.; and from May through October on Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m.  And we also are always open by special appointment.  Call ahead for special tours of our collections or for access to our research library.  Free to members and $2 for non members. Bring your out-of-town guests for a tour. Books on Bristol history, historic maps, prints and other items are available for sale in our Museum Corner Gift Shop during open hours.



Founded in 1936 to promote interest in historical research and preservation, to stimulate the study of the history of Southern New England, especially the Town of Bristol, to collect and preserve whatever pertains thereto, and to provide museum quarters for the exhibition of the same and a meeting space for our members.

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